Does your relative need affordable housing?

Jasmine Phu

June 18, 2012

Does your relative need affordable housing?For seniors, the demands of balancing a household on a fixed income can be overwhelming. If your loved one is considering leaving their long-term home for a new, more affordable housing option, you can help them make the right choice with one of the following options.

1. Assisted Living Centers. If your loved one is having difficulties grappling with the demands of everyday living and you fear that he or she may be isolated in their home, try an assisted living center. Centers fuse housing and personal care into one comprehensive package, ensuring that seniors receive the care they need without the hassle.

2. Reverse mortgages. Does your loved one need a change in their monthly expenses, but feels an assisted living center would not fit their lifestyle? If your relative is over the age of 62 and currently still lives in the home, he or she may qualify for a reverse mortgage. Available through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a reverse mortgage allows seniors to withdraw equity paid into the home to use toward unexpected expenses.

3. Rent. For seniors concerned about the costs of maintaining a large home, urge them to consider renting a smaller dwelling. This cost-effective alternative to homeownership is on the rise for elders. According to a recent study, an estimated 13 percent of renters in 2010 were aged 65 or older. When helping your loved one search for an apartment, it may be wise to invest in a medical alarm system from Bay Alarm. With the push of a button, the senior in your life will be able to reach out to emergency staff who can help in the event of a fall or accident.

4. Public housing. Many government initiatives exist to help seniors shoulder the costs of living, as well as connect them with affordable housing options if homeownership or assisted living centers are not feasible. Programs are income and need-based, so seniors will need to contact their local Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office to see if they qualify. Typically, the waiting list for programs is extensive, so advise your relative to remain flexible until they know their destination.

5. Consider a personal care attendant. If your schedule or living situation make it difficult for you to help your relative through this trying time, you may want to consider finding a personal care attendant (PCA) who can assist the senior in your life on a regular basis. While this may not be an affordable housing option, a PCA can ensure that your relative gets the care he or she needs if they continue living in their home, but would prefer not to move to an asisted living center.

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